How Much Are You Willing to Pay to Have Free Speech?

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James McHenry was born in Ireland in 1753. His Scots-Irish family send him to America in 1771 after he became sick from studying too hard. He may also have been sent to check out the colonies in anticipation of the entire family’s eventual immigration. In fact, a year later, the McHenry clan settled in what were then (for only a few years more) the British Colonies.

McHenry finished his studies in Philadelphia before serving as an apprentice under Benjamin Rush. You may remember Rush as the doctor/patriot who signed the Declaration of Independence, the founder of Dickinson College and the mentor/teacher of both Meriwether Lewis (of Lewis & Clark fame) and future president William Henry Harrison.

Perhaps influenced by Rush, or maybe the whole Philadelphia experience, McHenry joined the cause of the patriots. After the British captured and then released him, McHenry served on the staffs of both George Washington and General Lafayette.

Two things about McHenry stand out in his long and illustrious career as a Founding Father. It’s likely you don’t know his connection to either.Continue Reading “How Much Are You Willing to Pay to Have Free Speech?”

How Far Do Private Property Rights Go?

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Photo by J. Amill Santiago on UnsplashMany see Thomas Jefferson’s iconic “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” as having derived directly from Aristotle’s “Life, Liberty, and Eudaimonia.” For those of you not familiar with Greek, eudaimonia literally translates to the state or condition of “good spirit.” It represents the combination of the eu (meaning good) with daimon (meaning spirit).

Aristotle used the term in his Nicomachean Ethics, his tome devoted to the “science of happiness.” As a result, we commonly equate eudaimonia with happiness. Aristotle was all about living the good life, and by “good life” Aristotle alludes to a morality of higher Continue Reading “How Far Do Private Property Rights Go?”

Thoughts On Trains, Natural Gas, And The Interstate Highway System

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Photo by Antonin Duallia on UnsplashIt was a lonely vigil.

And by “vigil” I mean Easter Vigil on Saturday night.

And by “lonely” I mean I was by myself, all alone in a church I never went to before. Betsy was staying with her recovering father and Peter was not feeling well.

Only I wasn’t alone. Parishioners packed St. James (aptly named because it’s in the City of Continue Reading “Thoughts On Trains, Natural Gas, And The Interstate Highway System”

The Return Of The King: Albany Aims To Take Away Your Home Rule

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British Parliament Stamp Act 1765, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s a slippery slope. Once the camel’s nose pokes into the tent, it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the beast enters that humble abode.

And so it is with our own communities.

Or at least so it may soon be.

Don’t say you haven’t been warned. These pages brought this to your attention in a most blunt manner several years ago (see “First They Came For Our Plastic Bags…,” Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel, February 6, 2020). Each year, it seems, Albany removes another right from our fingers.

Like a spreading disease, this usurpation creeps into the very heart of our lives. This year, it threatens our very communities.

It’s called “Home Rule,” and it’s part of existing New York State law. First paragraph of Section 10 (“General Powers of Local Governments to Adopt and Amend Local Laws “) of the New York Municipal Home Rule Law states:Continue Reading “The Return Of The King: Albany Aims To Take Away Your Home Rule”

The Real News About Kathy Hochul Being New York State Governor

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You’ve probably read the headlines about Kathy Hochul “making history” by becoming the first woman to hold the position of New York State Governor.

If you’re like me, you cringe every time you see the appellation “first” applied to anyone. With the clear exception of sporting events, landing on the moon, and a few others, the term “first” seems more like a back-handed compliment. In today’s world of woke, it makes people wonder if “token” wouldn’t be a better description.

And that’s not fair.

I know. I’ve lived with this designation. The “first” Italian-American to do this… The “first” Catholic to do that… The “first” graduate of Gates-Chili high school to…

Each time, despite the apparent good intentions of various speakers of those words, it always felt condescending.

While I’m proud of my heritage, I didn’t want to be remembered merely as an Italian-Continue Reading “The Real News About Kathy Hochul Being New York State Governor”

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